Sarah Sadler, Integra
At the heart of the Babywearing Industry is a professional, successful and brilliant woman. Sarah Sadler, owner and creator of Integra baby slings is everything I had expected. She is someone I have always been in awe of, when I worked in the industry she was the benchmark I was always working towards. What I didn’t know then is that outward appearances don’t tell the full story and that the success she initially had with Connecta taught her many life lessons, leading to the happy place (both personally and professionally) she has found with Integra Slings.
Sarah was made redundant whilst expecting her first child and the family felt the pinch on one income after their first daughter arrived. She discovered the joys of using slings with her second baby and became a huge fan of babywearing. Sarah quickly became a bit of a local expert and made lots of friends and connections through this new found passion. In turn this led to setting up her own sling shop from home and selling brands that she used and loved. The opportunity to buy a manufacturing/retail business came up and so Sarah took on Connecta.
Connecta was incredibly successful and very quickly so, for a busy Mum who had been selling slings to bring in extra income for her family she was propelled into an exciting and corporate world. Running it all initially from home, which wasn’t quite big enough for their growing family, it now had a rapidly expanding business squished in too. Sarah admits freely that she has an aptitude for marketing and dealing with the media. The skills developed in her previous role in music merchandising were key to this and enabled her to handle the demands of the business world. Firstly they expanded into a garden office, Sarah packing orders with a baby on her back or a box as a makeshift playpen. Then they took the plunge and opened a shop. This gave both Sarah and her husband Darren the opportunity to meet with customers and really engage with both Mums and Dads. It was a heady, exciting time.
Then Sarah became ill and for a year her life was about treatment and recovery. Business could not be at the forefront of their minds and this in turn led to them losing it. At this time, her friends and colleagues from the industry rallied around to support her and her family. I asked Sarah later in our chat who inspired her and without hesitation she said it was all those wonderful people who stepped up when she was just surviving. Thankfully the treatment was successful and Sarah returned to health and decisions to be made about her future. Without hesitation Sarah continued straight on the path she had forged but with a new product. I’m sure the support and love shown to her was a huge part of this decision and enabled the brand Integra to be born.
Sarah also left behind ‘businessland’ as she calls it. It was a male dominated, product led world where no one talked about babies, she was never comfortable there. Now she could use all her knowledge and experience with Connecta to help put Integra into the hands of families without having to compromise her own needs and integrity. Success is what an individual perceives it to be and for Sarah her vision of this now includes taking care of herself alongside her business, this means working in an environment that is authentic to both. When you buy an Integra you are buying a functional and beautiful product designed by a parent for other parents to use. Sarah always puts being a mother first and understands to thrive that is what her business, customers and family need too.